Dr Nancy Wachowich

Dr Nancy Wachowich

Senior Lecturer

I am currently accepting PhDs in Anthropology.

Dr Nancy Wachowich
Dr Nancy Wachowich

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 273203
The University of Aberdeen G03, Edward Wright Building, Dunbar Street, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, UK, AB243QY


I am a social anthropologist working at the University of Aberdeen since 2001. My ethnographic research is located mostly in the Canadian High Arctic and draws on fields of historical anthropology, visual anthropology, oral histories, museums and material culture. I have written on the history of colonialism, the interplay between western and indigenous knowledge systems, historiography, Inuit media, and on the construction and invocation of traditions. My first book (worked on before and during my PhD) was part of a collaboration with Apphia Agalakti Awa, Rhoda Kaukjak Katsak and Sandra Pikujaq Katsak. Entitled Saqiyuq: Stories from the Lives of Three Inuit Women (McGill Queens University Press, 1999) it documented Inuit colonial history through the autobiographical stories of three generations from the same family. I continue have an interest in themes related to colonial historiography, women’s autobiographies, collaborative methodologies, and the politics and ethics of representation. My current research explores the dynamics of Inuit filmmaking, Arctic sewing and handicrafts, community digital archiving projects, colonial autobiographies and efforts to indigenize the internet.

I enjoy collaboration and am currently Co-Investigator on a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) collaborative project entitled Mobilising Inuit Cultural Heritage (http://mich.info.yorku.ca/). In 2015, as part of this project, I worked with Inuit seamstresses and media-makers in Pond Inlet (Mittimatalik) co-founding a women’s sealskin sewing collective, The Mittimatalik Arnait Miqsuqtuit Collective (MAMC), with the purpose of celebrating the art form and creating a digital visual archive of seal skin sewing skills for local use (https://vimeo.com/mamc).


PhD, Social Anthropology University of British Columbia, Canada 2001
MA, Symbolic Anthropology University of Western Ontario, Canada 1992
BA, Anthropology University of Alberta, Canada 1989

Memberships and Affiliations


School of Social Sciences Postgraduate Research Officer


Faculty and Steering Committee Member, International PhD School for the Study of Arctic Societies (IPSSAS)

External Examiner, Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge (2006-2009)

External Examiner, MA Visual Cultures, MRes Visual Anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London (2019-2022)

Prizes and Awards

Oral History Association (USA), Award for Best Project,  2000

Canadian Historical Society Clio Award for the North, 2000


Research Areas

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your research ideas further.

Email Me


  • Social Anthropology

Our research specialisms are based on the Higher Education Classification of Subjects (HECoS) which is HESA open data, published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Research Overview

arctic anthropology, ethnohistory, oral traditions, museums and material culture, visual anthropology, anthropology of colonialism, anthropology of art, indigenous media, collaborative methodologies

Current Research

Inuit oral traditions, material culture, historical anthropology, digitial archiving, collaborative methodologies, media anthropology, visual anthropology, cultural heritage, anthropology of art


Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage (MICH): a multi-media, multiplatform re-engagement of voice in visual arts and performance, York University, Canada

Mittimatalik Arnait Miqsuqtuit Collective: a women’s seal skin sewing and digital archiving collective based in the Inuit community of Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet), Nunavut Canada.  See: https://vimeo.com/mamc


My current supervision areas are: Anthropology.

Current students:

Qingyang Li, Masters of Research, Dissertation topic:  dance and NGOs in a Chinese village 

Hanna Louise, Masters of Research, Dissertation topic:  disabilities and social activism

Kirsty Kernohan, Doctorate, Thesis topic:  Nineteenth century women's material histories and the Stonehaven collection. 

Ursula Obrusnkk, Doctorate, Thesis topic: The politics of belonging in a Czech-Polish border town. 

Former students:

Peter Lawrence Bates, Doctorate, Thesis title: Knowing caribou: Inuit, ecological science and traditional ecological knowledge in the Canadian Arctic

Sophie Caecilie Elixhauser, Doctorate, Thesis title: Nammeq: Personal autonomy and everyday communication in East Greenland

Hiroko Ikuta, Doctorate, Thesis title: Sociality of Dance: Eskimo Dance among Yupiget on St. Lawrence Island and Iñupiat in Barrow, Alaska

Irena Leisbet Connon, Doctorate, Thesis title: Oral narratives and the reaffirmation of native Alutiiq identity

Lidia Joanna Jendzjowsky, Masters of Philosphy, Dissertation Title: Photographs of landscape and indigenous peoples along the Skeena River, Canada

Amber Anne Lincoln, Doctorate, Thesis title: Things of use, things of life: coordinating lives through matieral practices in Northwest Alaska

Katrin Annemarie Simon-Sakurai, Doctorate, Thesis title:  Never alone: Narratives of spirits in an Alaskan Yup’ik community

Anna C MacLennan, Masters of Research, Dissertation title:  Layers in the Cold: the potential of an anthropological study of Inuit skin clothing

Martina Anne Tyrrell, Doctorate, Thesis title: Inuit perception, knowledge and use of the sea in Arviat, Nunavut

Silvije Habulinec, Masters of Research, Dissertation Title: Material histories of Military Sites in Kangirlussuaq, Greenland, 2015. 

Ursual Obrusnik, Masters of Research, Dissertation title: Urban Aborginal media in Winnipeg, Canada, 2015.

Zoe Todd, Doctorate, Thesis title: ‘You Never Go Hungry’: Fish pluralities, human-fish relationships, Indigenous legal orders and colonialism in Paulatuuq, Canada.

Tara Joly, Doctorate, Thesis title: The Social Life of Wetlands: wetland reclamation in the western subarctic of Canada, 2017

Frederique Manceau, Masters of Research, Dissertation topic:  The lingerie industry and lace craftsmanship in France. 

Tamara Ranspot, Doctorate, Thesis topic: Ethnomusicology and animal-human relationships in the Yukon, Canada, 2019

Gioia Barnbrook, Doctorate, Thesis title: Continuing the Hunt: Environmental Change, Ecological Knowledge and Provision in Wemindji, Northern Quebec. 2019

Research Funding and Grants

Skin sewing segment of  'Mobilizing Inuit Cultural Heritage: a multi/media platform re-engagment of voice in visual art and performance,  Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Anna Hudson, York University, PI

'Inuit video art', British Academy Small Grant, 2004-2008 

'Material Histories: Social Relationships between Scots and Aboriginal Peoples in the Canadian Fur Trade , c. 1870-1930',  Art and Humanities Research Council, 2005-2007,  (with Professor Tim Ingold and Dr. Alison Brown)


Teaching Responsibilities

Anthropology 1003, Introduction to Anthropology, Peoples of the World

Anthropology 5032, Research in Social Anthropology I

Anthropology 2511, Colonialism Re-imagined

Anthropology 3523, Ethnography 

Anthropology 3006, Methods in Anthropological Research

Anthropology 4522, Oral Traditions

Anthropology 4528 Anthropology of the North (subsistence hunting module)

Anthropology 4010, Indigenous Media

Anthropology 3018, Society and Nature (animal rights module)

Anthropology 5534: Methods training (evidence module) 

School of Social Science Postgraduate Training 5055,  (Academic writing skills module)



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  • Inuit Women’s Sealskin Sewing: a film for the British museum exhibition 'Arctic: Culture and Climate'

    Wachowich, N.

    Non-textual Forms: Digital or Visual Products

  • Digitalisation of crafts: Comparative approaches to Arctic fur

    Ween, G., Wachowich, N.

    Nordisk Museologi: The Journal of Nordic Museology, vol. 2018, no. 2-3, pp. 30-44

    Contributions to Journals: Articles

  • Leah Aksaajuq Otak: The Measure of a Stitch & the Art of Translation

    Wachowich, N.

    The Hands' Measure. Wachowich, N., MacDonald, J. (eds.). Inhabit Media, pp. 16-34, 18 pages

    Chapters in Books, Reports and Conference Proceedings: Chapters

  • Anaanavut Qisingit: a meditation on sealskin sewing

    Wachowich, N.

    Non-textual Forms: Digital or Visual Products

  • The Hands' Measure: Essays honouring Leah Aksaajuq Otak's Contribution to Arctic Science

    MacDonald, J., Wachowich, N.

    Nunavut Arctic College Media, Iqaluit. 396 pages

    Books and Reports: Books

  • Irnivik: Airing Frame

    Wachowich, N.

    Non-textual Forms: Digital or Visual Products

  • Uiguaqtuq: The Hidden Stitch

    Wachowich, N.

    Non-textual Forms: Digital or Visual Products

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